Juninho and a season of change at Olympique Lyonnais
A team in the mold of Juninho-Sylvinho
The first choice of president Jean-Michel Aulas, Juninho has returned to write a new chapter at the club. After departing OL as a player in 2008-09 following eight seasons and seven French league titles, the legend is back in Lyon as the club's sports director. Upon taking office, he entrusted countryman Sylvinho, then assistant coach of the Brazilian national team, the job of new head coach. A new duo that introduced just a few minor changes to the coaching staff - Only Brazilian Fernando Lazaro has been recruited as a video analyst to work alongside Yannick Pothier and Johann Langlois.
It was important to strengthen the staff. I am very attached to them. We have to find a balance with the coach to make it all happen. We film the training sessions with drones. All these elements will allow us to grow again.
Departures, arrivals and records
Everything went as planned. The president had announced since the end of last season the sale of two major players, plus the release of Nabil Fekir. The now former club captain, Ferland Mendy and Tanguy Ndombele have been transferred, with the latter a record sale for the (60 million euros, plus a possible additional 10 million in incentives). OL has also been particularly active in the transfer market, spending a record amount to bolster the squad.
Danish center back Joachim Andersen was the most expensive signing, although he was far from the only high-profile recruit. Jean Lucas (midfielder, 21), Ciprian Tatarusanu (goalkeeper, 33), Thiago Mendes (midfielder, 27), Youssouf Koné (left back, 24) and Héritier Deyonge (left back, 17) arrived to offset the departuress of Jordan Ferri, Mathieu Gorgelin and Jérémy Morel. The club took advantage of this prolific summer to prepare for the future with the extension of Maxence Caqueret, while also signing Rayan Cherki, Titouan Thomas, Sofiane Augarreau, Theo Ndicka and Paul Devarewaerre to their first professional contracts. Meanwhile, new faces Nicolas Fontaine and Eli Wissa were also given pro deals.
We haven't finished the transfer window yet. We want to go and get another player. The coach will decide... Jean Lucas is a young player who still has to learn. Thiago can be a boss in the middle, he've shown it. Youssouf Koné and Joachim Andersen are two very good defensive signings. We have a quality workforce with several players per position. We are satisfied with the players we have, we trust them. We must now build collectively. We do not need to sell. I would like everyone to stay with us. To let Moussa Dembélé leave would do us a lot of harm.
An intense preseason
"It will take time," Sylvinho had previously warned. That said, the preseason results didn't reflect all the efforts made throughout the past month. Numerous training sessions at Décines, an intense training camp near Tignes and tactical sessions for the assimilation of concepts highlighted Lyon's preparation. And despite the four defeats conceded (Servette, Genoa, Liverpool, Bournemouth), Les Gones teammates have come to get to know each other and learn the coach's favorite 4-3-3 formation - which reaped benefits for OL in their 2-1 Emirates Cup win at Arsenal.
I had a hard time accepting and digesting the last defeat, I was disappointed. We must accept it. There was also satisfaction in the victory against Arsenal. The important thing is to get used to winning trophies. The coach is very tactical and sometimes lacks discipline. We must put the last matches behind, but we can't forget them. We have to change our mindset for Monaco. We will find a balance with those who joined the preseason a bit later. The message is starting to get through.
Things start for real on Friday
Let the competition begin! After more than a month of preparation, hard work and friendlies, the real job is set to get started. The new season officially kicks off this Friday at 8:45 pm CET with the first Ligue 1 Conforama Match Day in Monaco, a club looking for redemption after a disappointing 2018/19 campaign. There's no time to waste, and the level and intensity will go up a notch.
We have to focus on Monaco, it's most important and it's key. I hope we will show another side to ourselves. It's complicated to start in Monaco, they're not the same team as last season.